“A Personal Approach to Wellness”
Entering Pure Integrative Pharmacy is like stepping back to a simpler time. The staff greet customers with a warm welcome when they enter the small pharmacy, which specializes in dispensing medication along with the sale of high quality vitamins and nutritional supplements.
Kal Rahimi, the charismatic owner, operator, and pharmacy manager of Dunbar’s Pure Pharmacy says, “The company’s vision is to provide traditional pharmacy services while offering alternative solutions to our clients.”
Pure Pharmacy focuses on a holistic approach to health and wellness by providing services and products of the highest quality.
In 1999, Pure Pharmacy’s CEO Bob Mehr and his pharmacist wife, Mahtab, established their first location in Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island. Today the business has expanded to eight locations in Metro Vancouver and continues to grow.
Rahimi graduated from UBC’s pharmacy program in 2011. He grew up in Burnaby and was not very familiar with the Dunbar neighbourhood until he lived in residence at UBC. Having had an opportunity to spend time here he realized it was a very special and unique area of town. He was also aware that Dunbar residents take an active interest in their health. He thought it would be the perfect area to establish a Pure Pharmacy and opened the store in 2013.
Rahimi believes community pharmacists are highly trained and well positioned primary health care providers who can ease the burden on our publicly funded health care system by playing a more proactive role in the health and wellness of their patients.
He uses the example of a hospital triage to explain the personal service his pharmacy provides. On a daily basis, dozens of patients visit Pure Pharmacy to seek treatment for minor illnesses or to simply get advice on their health and wellness related concerns.
“My goal is to not only recommend a remedy to alleviate the bothersome symptom, but also to work with my patients to address the underlying cause of that symptom.” Kal Rahimi
That is what sets Pure Pharmacy apart from other retail pharmacies. For cases that are not within their scope of practice, or a customer would benefit from another practitioner’s inter-vention, Pure’s pharmacists use a systematic approach to ensure a referral is made to the general practitioner or other health care providers such as naturopaths, chiropractors, or dietitians if necessary.
He truly cares about his clients’ overall health profile and is happy to discuss the importance of exercise, diet and nutritional supplements. Rahimi explains that a symptom is a mental or physical feature felt by a patient and is a manifestation of an underlying condition or disease state. He adds, “In some cases medications simply alleviate, mask, or temporarily make a symptom go away without addressing the underlying cause.” He states that this is particularly true in the case of digestive disorders, autoimmune issues, chronic fatigue, sleep disorders, chronic pain, and mood disorders to name a few.
Rahimi provides an example of a patient experiencing recurrent and painful muscle spasms and the functional medicine approach he uses to devise a therapeutic plan. He acknowledges that while a prescription medication may be necessary in the short term, it does not address the underlying cause, which may stem from magnesium deficiency. In this case, Rahimi discusses whether the patient’s diet includes sufficient green vegetables and assesses the amount of coffee, alcohol, and carbonated beverages they consume as they can play a part in depleting magnesium. He also assesses the patient’s current medications. He mentions some prescription medications can cause micronutrient deficiencies and if we fail to supplement, these deficiencies may lead to certain symptoms.
In addition to filling prescriptions, the pharmacy also offers injections, blister packaging and lab tests for vitamin D and hormone levels.
There are only a handful of Vancouver pharmacies that offer compounding, which is the art and science of preparing customized medication for patients. Today, the vast majority of medications are mass-produced by pharmaceutical drug companies. A compounding pharmacist is trained to compose alternate dosages, which may come in other forms such as creams, caplets and suspensions, and to create specialized compounds for pediatric and veterinary patients. It is even possible to combine multiple medications into a single dose.
This service is particularly helpful when a medication is prescribed but the dosage is not commonly available. Instead of going through the headache of cutting up a tablet, Rahimi and his team of pharmacists can compound the exact dosage.
Rahimi is genuinely humble when he mentions people return on a daily basis to say thank you. He says, “It is a very satisfying part of my job. That’s what I feed off. It makes my day and keeps me going.”
The busy pharmacist commutes from Coquitlam where he lives with his wife and one year old daughter. When not working, the couple can often be found discovering new hiking trails with their baby accompanying them in a back carrier.
Rahimi is excited to announce that the pharmacy will be relocating on September 30th. Have no fear as this popular pharmacy, with the well-liked Rahimi at the helm, will remain in the neighbourhood, conveniently situated next door to Preventum medical clinic at West 16th and Dunbar Street.
Pure Integrative Pharmacy
4198 Dunbar Street
New address effective September 30: 3228 Dunbar Street